Documentary & Biography TV Shows

About Documentary & Biography

The purpose of a TV documentary, as is probably obvious from the genre's name, is to document something. Documentaries are non-fiction programs that examine a subject closely, and the intent of the program may be broadly educational, or it may attempt to make a cultural or political point. Although the earliest TV programming was focused on entertainment, documentaries quickly became a significant part of TV programming overall, and now some of the most popular TV networks concentrate almost exclusively on non-fiction programs.

Documentary TV programming comes in a number of forms. Stand-alone documentary films explore one subject in depth in a single film or in a short series of episodes, while documentary series often look at a different subject in each episode, with no direct connection between the subjects from episode to episode. News-magazine-style shows may group multiple segments within each episode; the segments typically focus on unrelated subjects. Other types of documentary series-crime and paranormal series are currently popular-explore a different specific subject in each episode, but all of the subjects conform to the overall theme of the series.

Biography is a sub-genre of documentary programming that tells the story of a particular individual. Historical figures, political leaders, entertainers, sports figures and other celebrities are, of course, the most popular subjects of TV biographies, and biographical documentaries are consistently popular with TV viewers. In recent years, the series "Biography" was one of the most successful productions on the A&E cable network-so much so that the network spun the series off into its own channel, The Biography Channel, which debuted in 1999.

Much of the programming that fits into the reality TV genre could also fit fairly comfortably into the documentary genre. Reality series that follow characters as they engage in specific occupations or live in unusual contexts educate viewers about those occupations and lifestyles at the same time that they entertain-although the main goal of these series is entertainment, and factual accuracy may suffer as a consequence.

About This Genre
Unexpected
Unexpected
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Black Love
Black Love
My 600-lb Life
My 600-lb Life
30 For 30
30 For 30
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
Dateline
Dateline
All or Nothing: Manchester City
All or Nothing: Manchester City
This is Life with Lisa Ling
This is Life with Lisa Ling
1000 Ways to Die
1000 Ways to Die
Snapped
Snapped
Below Deck Mediterranean
Below Deck Mediterranean
The New Edition Story
The New Edition Story
20/20
20/20
Life Below Zero
Life Below Zero
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Polyamory: Married and Dating
Ancient Aliens
Ancient Aliens
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
Autopsy: The Last Hours Of...
The 2000s
The 2000s
Intervention
Intervention
The Grand Tour
The Grand Tour
48 Hours Mystery
48 Hours Mystery
Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks
Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks
Halloween Baking Championship
Halloween Baking Championship
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Untold Stories of the E.R.
Forensic Files
Forensic Files
Lockup
Lockup
Cold Case Files
Cold Case Files
Who Killed Tupac?
Who Killed Tupac?
The Killing Season
The Killing Season
American Experience
American Experience
Disappeared
Disappeared
Diesel Brothers
Diesel Brothers
Taboo
Taboo
The Fourth Estate
The Fourth Estate
Hunting Hitler
Hunting Hitler
The Defiant Ones
The Defiant Ones
Mayday
Mayday
Behind Bars: Rookie Year
Behind Bars: Rookie Year
Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits
Just Another Immigrant
Just Another Immigrant
American Gangster
American Gangster
Shadow of Doubt
Shadow of Doubt
Good Eats
Good Eats
River Monsters
River Monsters
I Survived
I Survived
My Crazy Ex
My Crazy Ex
A Season with Florida State Football
A Season with Florida State Football
Active Shooter: America Under Fire
Active Shooter: America Under Fire
MARS
MARS
Survivorman
Survivorman
How It's Made
How It's Made
Deadly Sins
Deadly Sins
Pirate Treasure of the Knights Templar
Pirate Treasure of the Knights Templar
Evil Twins
Evil Twins
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding
Paranormal State
Paranormal State
Drain the Oceans
Drain the Oceans
Kindergarten
Kindergarten
Being Serena
Being Serena
Building Alaska
Building Alaska
Wild Wild Country
Wild Wild Country
The Perfect Murder
The Perfect Murder
Flipping Virgins
Flipping Virgins
Killing Fields
Killing Fields
Scorned: Love Kills
Scorned: Love Kills
Forbidden History
Forbidden History
Destination Truth
Destination Truth
Beyond Scared Straight
Beyond Scared Straight
Lore
Lore
Unsolved Mysteries
Unsolved Mysteries
Jeremy Wade's Mighty Rivers
Jeremy Wade's Mighty Rivers
America The Story of Us
America The Story of Us
Chasing Classic Cars
Chasing Classic Cars
The Sixties
The Sixties
Frontline
Frontline
Dirty Jobs
Dirty Jobs
I Shouldn't Be Alive
I Shouldn't Be Alive
Kindred Spirits
Kindred Spirits
Inside the NFL
Inside the NFL
The Staircase
The Staircase
The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead
The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead
What Lies Beneath
What Lies Beneath
Locked Up Abroad
Locked Up Abroad
Bering Sea Gold
Bering Sea Gold
WWE The Attitude Era
WWE The Attitude Era
Forbidden: Dying for Love
Forbidden: Dying for Love
Nightmare Next Door
Nightmare Next Door
How the Universe Works
How the Universe Works
Dead North
Dead North
Lockdown
Lockdown
Hustle & Soul
Hustle & Soul
The Skinny Dip
The Skinny Dip
Crime 360
Crime 360
Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story
Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story
The Last Defense
The Last Defense
Monsterquest
Monsterquest